by James Rada, Jr.


Commissioners to Address Blocked Sidewalks

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are looking to amend the town code to address obstructions to the sidewalk because of construction and renovation. Currently, there is nothing in the ordinance that addresses this problem. The proposed changes are based on the Walkersville town code and would require workers to get a permit when they expect to block the sidewalk. The permit would allow the sidewalk to be blocked for up to 10 business days, or it would have to be taken down. The problem is seen as a safety issue because pedestrians are having to walk in the street to get around scaffolding.

New Streetlight Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved the purchase of 85 LED streetlights to complete the Gateway subdivision. The town received three bids and approved a low bid of $59,415 from Catoctin Lighting.

The town also released a statement about concerns raised from the earlier installation of streetlights in the subdivision. Upon investigation, it was discovered that although the town and contractor believed they had purchased lights that had the same wattage and lumens as the ones they were replacing, the manufacturer had made changes that altered the lights. The town and contractor were not aware of this change.

Most of the funding comes from a Maryland Smart Energy Communities Grant for $53,010. The remaining amount will come from the streetlights line item in the electric budget.


Extended Office Hours

Beginning in March, the Emmitsburg Town Office will be open 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. This is a six-month trial to see if residents who are working during normal business hours and can’t get into the office to take care of business will make use of the extended hours.

Budget Gets Minor Restructuring

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted to move the home departments for three positions, which will move the benefits and taxes associated with those positions out of the water and sewer funds. This will make those budgets smaller, but it will increase general fund expenses by a similar amount. This means there will be no net difference.

The changes are:

    Move the office coordinator from the water fund to the finance department.

    Move the town clerk from the water fund to the finance department.

    Move the town manager from the sewer fund to the legislative department.

The changes will shift $96,702 from one department to another.

Town Accepts Rutter’s Pump Station

The town voted to take over the new Rutter’s pump station, which Rutter’s built to handle the needs of the new store on East Main Street. The advantage for the town is that the new station was built with enough capacity to also handle any new development across the street from the Rutter’s store.

Mayor Takes Issue with the County

Mayor Frank Davis was critical of Frederick County government during a recent town meeting. As the town prepares to implement its back-flow preventer cross-connection program, “All of a sudden, Frederick County wants to be involved in this project, so they can charge for a permit,” Davis said.

Davis said that conversations with plumbers and town staff have shown him that this is not something that should require a county permit, and the valve can’t be tested, so an inspection would be useless.

“I just see it as a money grab for the county,” Davis said.

Commission and Committee Appointments

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners recently appointed Dale Sharrer as a full member of the planning commission, effective February 20, 2024. They also appointed Leslie Frei to the sustainable communities workgroup, with a term running from February 12, 2024 to February 12, 2029.

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